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By Dr. Peter Stonehouse
Dept. of Agricultural Economics and Business
Univ. of Guelph, N1G 2W1
Early in 1994, a small team of researchers at the University of Guelph completed a study of organic dairy farming in Ontario. Based on information provided by eight organic dairy farmers for 1992, the results of the study clearly showed that organic dairy farmers can compete very successfully with conventional dairy farmers in most important technical and economic respects, such as milk shipments per cow and overall net farm income.
These results raised a lot of eyebrows, especially those of the many sceptics of organic farming. The sceptics have suggested that a broader test base with lots more organic farmers involved would offer results that people could have more confidence in. We, as university researcher, agree with that. As a result, we are appealing to you to come forward and join the eight organic dairy farmers who are already helping us out. You don't have to be a certified dairy producer. We would like to have you help us even if your cropping practices are not certifies organic (although of course it would be nice if they are). If you believe you produce organically (no agrochemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers on your farm), then please join us in this important research.
All your farm information will be treated in strict confidence by us. None of your data will be passed on to government or anyone else. When it comes to reporting the study results, we shall report the average results for the entire group of farmers who participated. Please volunteer and day or so of your time, and contact me, Dr. Peter Stonehouse, at:
Department of Agricultural Economics and Business
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1
Tel: 519-824-4120, exten. 2204
The directors do urge any suitable dairy farmers to participate. Dr. Stonehouse's work is one of the few research projects that receives some financial backing from the EFAO - he's one our few supporters. Since we're "investing" in his work, it would be great to see higher participant numbers give more validity to his findings.
Copyright © 1994 Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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